Hackers Access Sony PS3 Software Keys

Fail0verflow says the mod restores the PlayStation's Linux functionality, allowing any program to run without authentication on the gaming console.

Alison Diana, Contributing Writer

January 5, 2011

2 Min Read

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A group of hackers called fail0verflow claims to have gained access to the private software keys Sony uses to execute programs for its hot-selling PlayStation 3.

During the 27th Chaos Communication Congress, held Dec. 27-30 in Berlin, the group said it created the hack to restore Linux operating system functionality which Sony removed in 2010, according to GamePro. The firmware hack lets the PS3 run any program without authentication, so that PS3 games burned onto a Blu-ray disc will function just like a traditional PS3 retail disc, regardless of the firmware required to play that game, a Sony Insider report said. In theory, this could simplify game piracy.

Last May, a group of PS3 users took an alternate route to voice their displeasure, filing a lawsuit against Sony for its "unfair and deceptive business practice perpetrated on millions of unsuspecting consumers."

In the Chaos Communication Congress presentation, available on YouTube, the six members of fail0verflow discussed console hacking in general, as well as holes the hackers found in PS3's architecture.

Fail0verlow, which was behind last year's Wii homebrew, does not plan to release custom firmware, according to the group. However, it plans to offer proof-of-concept and tools, according to Sony Insider.

iPhone hacker GeoHot has released his PS3 hack which modifies the PS3's hypervisor, adding two calls for reading and writing to the system memory, according to PS3 News.

"In the interest of openness, I've decided to release the exploit. Hopefully, this will ignite the PS3 scene, and you will organize and figure out how to use this to do practical things, like the iPhone when jailbreaks were first released. I have a life to get back to and can't keep working on this all day and night," he said. "I'd like to see the missing HV calls filled in, nice memory maps, the boot chain better documented, and progress on a 3D GPU driver. And of course, the search for a software exploit."

About the Author(s)

Alison Diana

Contributing Writer

Alison Diana is an experienced technology, business and broadband editor and reporter. She has covered topics from artificial intelligence and smart homes to satellites and fiber optic cable, diversity and bullying in the workplace to measuring ROI and customer experience. An avid reader, swimmer and Yankees fan, Alison lives on Florida's Space Coast with her husband, daughter and two spoiled cats. Follow her on Twitter @Alisoncdiana or connect on LinkedIn.

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